Although it feels more like winter at the moment, spring cleaning is about to start. There is always some competition between the office, who want to take bookings, and the housekeeping side, who want uninterrupted possession to ensure our guests find a clean house, but a compromise is usually reached in February, our low season.

Over the years, we have invested in more and more new equipment and cleaning products, although for certain jobs, elbow grease, such as polishing, is still the best. We have a scaffold tower for high-level dusting and cleaning picture frames and vacuuming tapestries, and a selection of brushes, feather dusters and chemicals for marble, wood, enamel and rugs. We are more limited now on what we can use to deal with moths and beetles, but there is nothing better than the smell of traditional beeswax polish on the woodwork.


We refer to the National Trust Manual of Housekeeping which is a thesaurus of useful information, though we are not always able to follow its advice to the letter.  We just don’t have time.

I love coming into a newly-cleaned room. It smells quite different. My only worry is that Rosemary, our housekeeper, and her team will find some terrible hidden problem when they get down to business. We are still waiting for the tapestry they said needed repair to come back after nearly two years away. What will they find this year?                     JH-B   29th January 2010